Thursday, November 10, 2011

On pride

The following originally appeared on Facebook. I think I wrote it because I needed to remind myself.


In a comment elsewhere on Facebook, a stranger wrote:

So no I do not understand having pride in being a penn stater right now when the rest of the nation is quite frankly disgusted by your school.

Let me help.

I'm proud to be a Penn Stater because I received an excellent education that I would have had to pay much more for anywhere else. I did meaningful research throughout my undergraduate career. My advisor and the other faculty in my department were world-class, and so many of them went out of their way to improve my education. I went on to the best graduate program in my field, and my preparation was second to none. The people at Penn State who made this possible have nothing to do with the travesty now unfolding.

I'm proud of Penn State because it was the kind of place where you could skip Art History (yet again) to sneak off to the Creamery and have a cone with Whit Diffie. Or find yourself standing at a urinal next to Sir Roger Penrose.

I'm proud of Penn State for the elms and the cow fields and capture-the-flag on the golf courses at midnight, and the grilled stickies afterward. And the friends who were there through all of it.

I'm proud of Penn State for the guy in my dorm who took down a murderer on the HUB lawn. Because when you see violence happening in front of you, that's the right thing to do.

I'm proud of Penn State because, even though I now live a couple of hours from campus, there's "canners" at my local grocery store every year, standing in the cold, raising money for kids with cancer.

I like Penn State football, but my pride and love for Penn State were never based on that. And I sure as hell never loved the administration (does any faculty, staff, or student anywhere?). They were not the foundation of my pride, and their failures will bruise, but not destroy, that pride. The university is more than them, and what they did will not erase the achievements of hundreds of thousands of good and decent faculty, students, and alumni.

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